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Gain specialist knowledge and skills in the design and deployment of subsea riser systems.

Learn from industry and academic experts with a founding university of the Global Subsea Universities Alliance, at the forefront of teaching and professional training for ambitious engineers throughout the global oil and gas industry.

A great opportunity to grow your professional expertise and career options - with all the advantages of distance learning whatever your location in the world.


A specialist online course developed by academic and industry experts to boost your knowledge and expertise in offshore riser systems and their design considerations.

We’ve designed this course for you as a practising engineer working in, or moving into, the offshore industry and involved in the planning and design of this critical component of subsea architecture.

You’ll cover all typical riser systems including flexible, steel catenary, hybrid and top tensioned riser systems, and examine current design approaches for these systems. You’ll learn from top experts in the business sharing their experiences in riser design and deployment in many different locations and environments across the world.

Aberdeen is the obvious choice for this course, as a globally-recognised centre of excellence in subsea engineering, in a region with the greatest concentration anywhere of subsea companies. You’ll be taught by experienced tutors who have themselves worked at senior level in the industry, and by guest speakers from major companies operating in the subsea and wider offshore sector. Your programme also benefits from an Industry Advisory Board which constantly reviews your course content to ensure that you gain state-of-the-art knowledge and are up to date with emerging trends and technologies.

You can take this credit-bearing short course standalone or as a taster to progress to a full Masters in Subsea Engineering, highly-accredited by industry bodies and available fully online.

Why Aberdeen for this course?

The combination of reputation, experience, breadth of expertise, teaching and research strength, location and international outlook, makes Aberdeen the obvious provider of first-class education in energy. Aberdeen is Europe's energy capital, and a leading ‘World Energy City’. Our University is a founding Member of the Global Subsea Universities Alliance.

Our Institute of Energy brings together experts in research, teaching and professional development across all areas of oil and gas and renewable energies. Students gain the benefit of close working relationships with major companies and entrepreneurs, and learn from experienced industry professionals and world-class academics who collaborate with industry colleagues on cutting-edge research

Aberdeen engineering graduates are today working at senior level, including CEO and MD, in the offshore industry worldwide. Wherever you are working in the world you are likely to have a fellow Aberdeen graduate engineer working with you.

You can take this credit-bearing short course standalone. Should you decide to pursue your studies in greater depth, you can use your credits to progress to the full online MSc in Subsea Engineering, accredited by The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), and the Energy Institute.

You may also want to consider our new MSc Global Subsea Engineering programme which offers a unique opportunity for students to learn in an internationally collaborative environment centred around two major oil and gas hubs - Aberdeen in Scotland and Perth in Western Australia.

What you'll study

You’ll cover all typical riser systems including flexible, steel catenary, hybrid and top tensioned riser systems, and examine current design approaches for these systems.

You’ll also study important topics such as effective tension concept, vessel response characterisation including response amplitude operators and second order response, ocean environmental hydrodynamics, regular and irregular wave loading analysis, time and frequency domain solution techniques and riser ancillary equipment. And you’ll consider marine environmental hydrodynamics and interactions between vessel, mooring and riser systems.

You’ll gain an overview of different systems, and their related equipment, the fundamentals of hydrodynamic floating and behaviours of riser systems, how we model and derive equations of motion, calculate displacement and stresses, and how we estimate the service life of a particular configuration. This leads to how we select the components of the system best suited to our particular needs and environment.

How you'll study

This online, 12-week distance-learning short course offers all the flexibility and convenience to study when, where and how you choose, and to fit your learning around your location, work and personal commitments.

Our online courses are delivered through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as self-contained units of learning taught and assessed to the same quality as our degree programmes, and developed specifically for an online audience using a range of learning materials and assessment activities.

We aim to create an international online classroom experience and student community which enables you to enjoy the same learning experience as  students on our full degree programmes, including access to a suite of learning resources and support. We expect you to spend around 10-15 hours weekly on your 12-week course. You’ll be guided through your programme with weekly online lectures and tutorials, reading material. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to interact with your tutors, and with your online classmates on discussion boards.

Wherever you are in the world, as you enjoy the advantages of online distance study, you will still feel part of our very special Aberdeen family and learning community.


Your learning will be assessed continually throughout your course, and this will contribute 25% of your final mark.

At the end of the course you’ll have a written three-hour examination worth 75% of your marks.

Through our network of partners throughout the world we will arrange a convenient location for you to sit your exam. Alternatively, if you are based in Aberdeen, you can take your exam on our Aberdeen campus.

Entry Requirements

In general, applicants are expected to hold a relevant degree, however alternative/lower qualifications combined with an appropriate level of relevant experience may also be considered as a means for entry.

All students entering the University, including online courses, must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study our programmes effectively. Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. For details of our pre-sessional English courses see our Language Centre website.